Monday, June 6, 2011

pretty pink butterflies

I hate wasting things, which usually results in some really fun culinary exploration.  For example, when I made a salad last week that required only one tiny cup of shredded red cabbage, I tried to get a small head.  Unfortunately, there was only one head of red cabbage in all of Whole Foods, so it didn't matter much whether it was big or little.  As I was doing the menu planning for this week, I was very aware of the almost untouched head of cabbage in my crisper and engaged myself in a search for a recipe to use it up.

That, my friends, is the only reason I strayed from making a menu completely from The Complete Vegan Cookbook, because believe me, there is certainly enough material in there to make a week of meals. 

So tonight, I made Farfalle with White Beans and Cabbage from Vegan on the Cheap, so I could use up the red cabbage before it went all gross.  Sure, the recipe called for green cabbage, but variety is the spice of life, right?  Speaking of spices, this dish would benefit from some more.  I gave the sauteing cabbage what I thought was a generous sprinkling of Mediterranean Sea Salt, but I think I could have doubled that amount before a person could actually taste the salt part of the blend.

I have another recipe somewhere for red cabbage and kidney beans that didn't quite make it to my "Yes, I'll make this again" list, and I found myself thinking of that recipe after I added the cannellini beans to the sauteing cabbage and immediately realized two things:
  1. the reason you saute red cabbage with red kidney beans is because they're both red.
  2. the reason you saute green cabbage with cannellini (white kidney) beans is so that they don't turn a lovely shade of puce.
I felt like I should have expected that, but what I didn't expect was that the red would bleed out of the cabbage and color the farfalle (Italian for "butterflies") a pale shade of fuschia, too.  Fortunately, I was prepared for the slightly sweeter taste of the red cabbage, though now in retrospect, I think my seasoning would have been sufficient for green cabbage, as it is a little more of a flavor sponge than its stronger red sibling.

Today was the coolest it's supposed to be all week, with temperatures pushing toward the 100-degree mark toward mid-week.  I don't want to sound like a weenie (especially since it's been in the 90s for a while where my sister lives, but she's into that whole African sun/desert thing), but it is a little surprising that we're getting so hot so early - it's not even officially summer yet!  Makes me wonder what we're in for this summer... Thank heavens I have at least a dozen cookbooks brimming with salads I haven't made yet!

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